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Corporate Affairs Commission places First Bank record on caveat as board crisis worsens

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Corporate Affairs Commission places First Bank record on caveat as board crisis worsens

. As ex-AMCON chair accuses bank of promoting illegality and disobedience to court orders

By: Michael Mike

The Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, has placed the record of First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Holdings on caveat pending the resolution of the current crisis rocking the board of the bank as a result of multiple court cases filed by aggrieved directors.
The current crisis rocking the bank stems from protests by shareholders who are kicking against the bank’s internal governance and shareholding structure, as a result of which some of them have taken their grievances to the court. One of such is the case of Olusegun Samuel Onagoruwa v. FBN Holdings Plc in Suit No. FHC/L/CP/1271/2022), which is challenging the capacity of the Board of Directors of FBN to appoint new persons to fill vacant slots.
Onagoruwa in his suit is seeking “an order setting aside, nullifying, annulling and/or quashing the appointments and approvals of Mr. Olusola Adeeyo, Mr. Viswanathan Shankar, Mrs. Remilekun Adetola, Mr. Anil Dua and Mrs. Fatima Ibrahim as Non-Executive Directors of First Bank of Nigeria Limited made on the 20th day of March, 2024, by FBN Holdings Plc during the pendency of this action and in defiance of the subsisting order of this Honourable Court made on the 15th day of July, 2022.”
The motion also seeks an order restraining the above-named non-executive directors from acting or taking any steps as non-executive directors of the bank. The current court case follows similar four other cases pending at the Federal High Court in Lagos and Abuja challenging the internal governance of FBN Limited, in addition to existing court injunctions restraining the bank from holding the last two Annual General Meetings which the bank went ahead to hold.
In a new twist to the crisis, the Corporate Affairs Commission in a letter titled
“RE: NOTIFICATION OF PENDENCY OF SUIT NO. FHC/L/CP/1575/23 AGAINST FBN HOLDINGS PLC, AND SUBSISTING INTERIM ORDERS OF THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT MADE ON THE 9TH DAY OF AUGUST 2023 RESTRAINING FBN HOLDINGS PLC FROM HOLDING OR PROCEEDING WITH ITS ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING PURPORTEDLY HELD ON THE 13TH DAY OF AUGUST 2023”, weighed in on litigations threatening to tear the old generation bank apart.
Signed on behalf of the Registrar General of CAC by Chidimma Maureen Nwite, the Commission in a letter to lawyers to some of the parties in court against FBN Holdings said
“This is to inform you that the record of FBN Holdings PLC RC: 916455 has been placed on caveat pending the determination of Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1575/2023.
Please be guided accordingly.”
Speaking on the multiple crises rocking the foundation of First Bank, a former Chairman of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dr. Muiz Banire accused the first generation financial institution of promoting illegality and flagrant disobedience of court orders, a development shareholders fear poses major threat to the bid by the bank to strengthen its capital base in line with the recent directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria to all banks operating in the country to recapitalize.
Banire who is involved in one of the court cases said “the Bank seems to now have a reputation of defying court orders. What I just read is similar to the case Iam handling also. The Bank appears to be building a reputation of lawlessness and by the time it boomerangs, the bank and by extension the shareholders will bear the brunt. I am sure the plaintiffs will not allow them to get away with the illegality. The case of the bank is becoming a bubble.”
He further said “I also believe the CBN is aiding and abetting the Board of Directors the apex bank imposed. Everything the Board is doing is beyond their mandate. The Apex Bank needs to dissolve the Board and allow the shareholders to choose their Directors. It is one illegality after another.”
According to one of the workers union leaders in the bank, “as the tenure of the imposed directors is expiring, the same illegitimate Management of FBN, whose legitimacy is being challenged, has gone further, during the pendency of the cases challenging their competence to lead the bank, to arbitrarily appoint further five independent directors. Where they derived the power from remains a mystery.
“Mismanagement and manipulation of shares are also being alleged in some of the cases pending against the bank while the legality of the AGMs and the imposed board of directors remain a challenge.” The union leader expressed the fear that the spate of litigations and board squabbles currently rocking the bank may bring a quick collapse of the over 100-year- old bank.
Also speaking on the development, a shareholder, Mr. Olalekan Babalola, said “it is imperative for the authorities to find a solution to this lingering crisis as Nigeria cannot afford another major bank’s collapse at this critical time when President Bola Tinubu is working hard to revamp the nation’s crumbling economy. This is because the current crisis will definitely impede the bank from getting the new Central Bank’s capitilisation threshold.”
He called for urgent resolution of all court cases in the overall interest of depositors, shareholders and other stakeholders of the bank before further damage is done to the oldest Nigerian bank.

Corporate Affairs Commission places First Bank record on caveat as board crisis worsens

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IOM, Yobe Govt Push for Education that Will Enable Almajiris Fulfill Full Potential

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IOM, Yobe Govt Push for Education that Will Enable Almajiris Fulfill Full Potential

By: Michael Mike

The United Nations International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Yobe State Government and Almajiri Child Rights Initiative (ACRI) have pushed for official and regularized education of Almajiris to enable them fit into modern needs of a society and subsequently achieve their full potential.

This was the crux of discussion at a roundtable meeting: “achieving durable solutions and sustainable impact for protecting vulnerable street and migrant children in Nigeria.”

The event organised by organised by IOM, Yobe government and ACRI which commenced on Monday and run through Wednesday, also featured workshop session on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS), Gender-Based Violence (GBV), and Trafficking in Persons (TiP) to commemorate the International Day for the Almajiri child.

The IOM Chief of Mission Laurent De Boeck said the organisation will uphold the principles of on-discrimination, best interest of the child, right to life and safeguarding their dignity.

He explained the roundtable will foster dialogue among key stakeholders and promote response to child trafficking, and strengthen partnerships on ways to ensure child protection.

He noted that this will ensure every Almajiris realize their full potential and lead a life of dignity and opportunity. He said: “I will like to celebrate with you the International Day of the Child.

“I believe that all of us are children to someone and also as parent the concern gives us the value of childhood and the right that every child in the world should have access to.

“It is the reason I am happy to be with to celebrate and engage in ensuring the children in the world, particularly in Nigeria have the rights they truly deserve.

“It is particularly interesting to discuss what can be gained in the protection of vulnerable children in the streets in Nigeria.

“Therefore, one of the national efforts to bring together all the partners from different sectors to the board.”

On his part, Yobe State Commissioner of Religious Affairs and Ethical Orientation, Alhaji Yusuf Umar, commended organisation of the event, stating that it was apt and would proffers solution to issues that border on Almajiris.

He described Almajiri as a long standing Islamic education system that unfortunately faced numerous challenges in the country lately.

He noted that these challenges include inability to access formal education, healthcare and social services, which has left most children particularly Almajiris marginalised.

Umar said, “This event will not have come at a better time intended to facilitate response to child trafficking, promote dialogue and collaboration among stakeholders, to tackle challenges faced by this category of children.

“Yobe under the purposeful leadership of Gov. Mai Mala Buni, accords priority to the welfare of Almajiri among other children, particularly bearing in mind they are mostly affected in states ravaged Boko Haram.”

The ACRI Board Chair, Fati Murtala-Ibrahim disclosed that the event marked the fourth edition since the establishment of the initiative.

She said: “This roundtable serves as a vital advocacy structure by ACRI to continuously bring issues about Almajiris to the forefront of discussion.

“In past years, our national advocacy campaign has successfully increased, in terms of public concern and engagement.”

Director-General of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi, emphasised the need for review of Almajiri education system to ensure protection of children without exploitation.

Waziri-Azi, who was represented by Director Research and Programme Development, NAPTIP, Mr Josiah Emerole, said: “The protection of children in the Almajiri system and the fight against trafficking are not just legal obligations, but moral imperatives.

“As we commence this roundtable and subsequent training, let us reaffirm our commitment to safeguarding the rights and future of all children.

“Through collaborative efforts, strengthened legislation and relentless advocacy, we can create a safer, more just society where every child is free from exploitation and able to realize their full potential.

IOM, Yobe Govt Push for Education that Will Enable Almajiris Fulfill Full Potential

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FCT POLICE FOILS KIDNAPPING, RESCUES VICTIMS

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FCT POLICE FOILS KIDNAPPING, RESCUES VICTIMS

…as CP harps on sustainable security in FCT.

By: Our Reporter

In an immediate and strategic response to a distress call on the attack by unknown gunmen in Dawaki on May 19, 2024, at about 11:30pm, the operatives of the FCT police command led by the Commissioner of Police, CP Benneth C. Igweh, psc, mni, himself, swiftly mobilised to the scene.

Displaying remarkable bravery and coordination, the police, in synergy with local hunters, advanced on the assailants, tactically ambushing them at Ushafa Hill via Bwari and Shishipe Hills via Mpape. This led to a fierce gun duel as the hoodlums were overwhelmed by the firepower of the operatives, forcing them to scamper to safety with various degrees of bullets injuries, and the victims were rescued.

While one of the rescued victims is still in the hospital receiving medical attention, the commissioner of police, FCT, CP Benneth C. Igweh, psc, mni, reaffirms the command’s steadfast dedication to maintaining peace and security in the Territory, as search operations are ongoing to rescue other hostages who fled the scene during the shootout. 

Further development will be provided in due course.

FCT POLICE FOILS KIDNAPPING, RESCUES VICTIMS

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NIN enrolment hits 107 million

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NIN enrolment hits 107 million


…Nigerians to Pay for Proposed Multipurpose ID card

By: Michael Mike

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) on Friday disclosed that the National Identity Number (NIN) has reached 107.338,044, showing a growth of 3.2 million from the 104 million reported as at the end of last year.

The Commission also announced ongoing plans to introduce a general multipurpose NIN card for which Nigerians will be required to pay.

Speaking at a media briefing in Abuja, the Director General of the Commission, Abisoye Coker-Odusote, equally disclosed that in addition to the surge in enrollment, the Commission is not resting on its oars as it would stop at nothing to ensure every Nigerian was registered.

She revealed that the commission is revamping its systems, implementing cutting-edge technologies to upgrade its outdated equipments, and cracking down on fraudsters and extortionists.

She said with the continuous expansion of enrollment centres across the country, the Commission would be in a position to record total registration of Nigerians.

Coker-Odusote noted that in the next six to eight months, the system which capacity presently stands at 100 million would be upgraded to 250 million.

She further mentioned that the Commission intends to review the prices for its services to improve service delivery to Nigerians, noting that the Commission would prosecute any staff members caught conniving with illegal actors.

She said: “All we are trying to do is to ensure that we provide a robust service for Nigerian citizens and legal residents. And to ensure that life is easy and seamless. One should not spend three to four hours in the NIMC office because of NIN services. It is something I will not allow to continue to happen. We will provide all necessary means to address the issue.

“We are clamping down extortioners parading themselves as NIMC staff. A lot of people have lost their money to extortioners.

“Any staff of NIMC that tries to work with illegal perpetrators will face disciplinary committee and be tried according to the Cybercrime Act 2015 and the Nigeria Data Protection Act 2023. Same with any illegal perpetrators.

“We will make sure we create proper communication to gauge against extortioners.

“We are going to review our rate. It is not going to be much, but it will be reviewed. We have not reviewed our rate for a long time. It is not going to be exorbitant”.

She explained that Nigerians would have to pay a certain amount of money to access the new general multipurpose national identity card through financial institutions in the country, saying the card would allow them access to different digital services and enhance financial inclusion.

“Just like how you pay to access your ATM cards in the banks, Nigerians will pay through the banks to access their cards within 48 hours. We are partnering with Afrigo to ensure seamless delivery of cards to citizens after payment to get the digital multipurpose card,” She said.

She said applicants for the card will have to request with their NIN through a self-service online portal or the banks, insisting that NIN registration remains free for citizens of the country.

She further explained that NIMC is collaborating with the Students Loan Board, NYSC, and other government institutions responsible for palliatives distribution will soon start using NIMC identity database for services of government to ensure accountability and eliminate ghost beneficiaries.

She said states like Jigawa, Lagos, Kaduna, and Delta among others are currently acting as Front End Partners with NIMC for registration of their citizens in the national identity database and enjoined the media to support efforts of the Commission by raising awareness among the citizenry.

NIN enrolment hits 107 million

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